Monday, May 22, 2017

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It's been a long time since I've chronicled how I've wasted my time playing games on the internet.

Part of that was a little burnout after completing 52 posts in 52 weeks last year. Part of that is the amount of travel I've been doing. Video games unfortunately have taken a back seat.

But probably the most substantial part of my absence from the ole' blog is the massive games I've been playing.

Last year by May, I had maybe a half dozen games completed. This year, Resident Evil 7 is it. After Resident Evil 7's credits, I started Mass Effect Andromeda and Zelda Breath of the Wild, all while longing to get back to Toyko Mirage Sessions and start Persona 5.

The volume of game this year has been massive.

Zelda BotW has taken critics and gamers hearts, massaged the love stricken muscle into submission, and once replaced into the chest cavity, the gamer can do nothing but speak of the greatness of Zelda.

The world's populated with so many activities. The 120 shrines are fun 10-15 minute mini-dungeons that act as fast travel points.

The towns feed sidequests into your log. (Although I find the towns don't have as much charm as they did in previous Zelda's, taking a step back from being an actual character and just being an environment.)

And there's an unbelievable amount of puzzles that at first you might not recognize as a puzzle, but
once you see it, you scour the land for more. These are as simple as setting a square stone into other ones or noticing that three trees next to each other have slightly different leaf patterns and you need to match them.

The enemy camps are each their own puzzle you have to decide whether to attack head on or stealthily or skip completely.

The game is so good, absolutely amazing. Probably the best game I've played thus far this year.

But... and I'll pause for the groans.

It hasn't enchanted me like it has others. Every time I get on a roll of climbing towers and completing shrines, a 10 minute long storm rolls in and I can't scale the rock wall in front of me.

Every time I take a look around and admire the magnitude of this world, I find some convoluted shrine that only appears when you bomb a certain statue under the blood moon that only comes once a month.

Every time I get excited to go on a directionless adventure, I approach a camp fire and spend 15 minutes cooking peppers and steak through what feels like 15 button presses in various menus.

Every time I'm on the cusp of declaring this the best Zelda game ever, one of these draw backs kicks me right in the throat and brings me back to Earth.

Nintendo obviously put the best minds and designers on this game and I understand it's likely to end up at the top of many lists at the end of the year, but so many of the "what ifs" dig at me.

What Nintendo did here worked and if past Zelda's are any indication, we have at least one more in this style in which I'm sure they will perfect on everything I've complained about, but when you're 3 years deep on a project for a system that is dying and one that hasn't come out yet, you work with what you have and you leave some annoyances around.